Drink Upgrades: The Screwdriver

Following up my article on Basic Drinking, I present to you a basic guide on how to you can upgrade a very basic drink into any of a variety of  complex cocktails.

The screwdriver is one of the most basic of drinks.  Vodka and Orange juice in some proportion.  The drink is so simple that unless you’re actually tending bar even the proportions hardly matter.

This is basic orange juice.  Approximately 8 ounces.Orange Juice

From this simple citrus you can expand outwards in an almost infinite number of directions.

For our purposes the screw driver requires only that we add vodka.











After 1.5 oz of vodka and a quick stir you have a screwdriver.  Quick morning pick me up, easygoing non-soda party drink etc.

For a slight upgrade there are a plethora of flavored vodkas on the market that can give this a kick into another direction.  A personal favorite is Whipped Cream Vodka which turns OJ into a creamcicle in pretty short order.  Raspberry, cherry, and even glazed donut vodka could also give you a nice turn on this level.

Harvey WallbangerThis picture doesn’t really do the Harvey Wallbanger justice.  A basic screwdriver with a float of about half an ounce of Galliano on top.

Galliano has a lot of flavor and when you float it, it becomes the first thing into your mouth.  You’re going to get anise, bitter, vanilla and a number of other things.  If that’s not your bag, then I would suggest adding it with the vodka and giving it a good stir.  You’re not going to notice the delicate flavors much in so much OJ, which might require you to drop the Oj down to 4 ounces or less if you want to get a good idea of the flavors.

At this point you’re looking at three ingredients.  Two of them as common as oxygen and one almost unknown.

If you’re looking for a variant here you could substitute anything with a strong herbal flavor.  Herbsaint, Benedictine, or Chartreuse would be good substitutes.  Alternately you could start looking at amaros things like Campari, Aperol, or Maraschino.

You could also go with flavors that really complement the orange, Triple sec, Grand Mariner, Ginger Liqueur or Curacao.




Once you’ve got a handle on flavors it’s a pretty simple matter to start blending similar ingredients into a more tasty whole.

The Graduate From humble beginnings the screwdriver gets mouthfeel, tart notes, astringency, sweeter notes and bitter licorice flavors and becomes The Graduate.

Botticelli: Drink Review – Turning Prayers into Sins


The Third of my drink reviews from my trip to Oven and Shaker is the Botticelli.

1 oz Vodka
1 oz Aperol Italian Bitters
0.25 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
2 oz Cava

Now if you’re like me at least two of the ingredients on that list are a bit unknown.  Aperol is similar to Campari at about half the strength, a bitter orange liqueur with a reddish coloration.

Cava is a sparkling wine produced in Spain.  Since it’s not from the Champagne region you can’t call it Champagne so it gets a more regional appellation but the taste and concept are pretty similar.

Like the French 75 this takes some citrus and a good quality spirit and adds bubbly to the mix.  Only here we have a much more complex blend of flavors and colors.  I like the pink hue that comes out of the Aperol and the drink itself is very well balanced on the tongue.  It isn’t really complex and doesn’t challenge any expectations.  Very light on the alcohol taste, the citrus sees to that but the overall made grapefruit juice taste good which for me is a miracle in itself.  As billed on the drink menu this is a Fresh and light drink, good for early on when you’re not sure you want something that is going to sour you on dinner or lunch.

Lacking two of the major ingredients i’m not likely to make one of these at home without some major modifications and that would take some experimenting that I don’t really want to do.

I would buy another the next time I go to Oven and Shaker but their list of awesome drinks has at least another 10 that I haven’t tried yet and this one isn’t fantastic enough to bring me back on its own.

5/5 Shakers on this one, brilliantly executed.